Many of the restaurant concepts Phil Romano created have since been sold to corporations. "Do I get upset when I go into a Fuddruckers today? Yes," Romano writes in his book Food For Thought: How the creator of Fuddruckers, Romano's Macaroni Grill and Eatzi's built a $10 billion empire one concept at a time. "But they still have a damn good hamburger and I wish them success."
With that caveat — that many of his restaurants have changed since he was involved — he lists his favorite dishes at some of them:
Romano's Macaroni Grill: He remembers loving the roasted chicken back at the original in San Antonio. Today, the chain has Chicken Under a Brick, which comes with seasonal vegetables and garlic rosemary potatoes.
Rudy's Country Store and Bar-B-Q: Romano likes the brisket or ribs. "It's still good," he says.
Eatzi's: For breakfast, Romano eats oatmeal with vanilla cream. He also likes the roasted salmon and the Friday night pizzas.
Fuddruckers: He skips the famous nacho cheese sauce, though he understands why customers love it. Romano orders a half-pound beef burger and tops it with pickles and ketchup.
Coal Vines: The order here is simple: a pepperoni pizza with any of the salads.